Driver gives evidence to inquest jury about death of Fareham police officer

PC Steve Rawson
PC Steve Rawson

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THE driver of a car involved in a crash that killed a police officer admitted he shouldn’t have turned right across a dual carriageway.

During the third day of an inquest into the death of Fareham-based PC Steve Rawson, the jury heard evidence from Michal Pliszczynski.

He revealed he was on his way to work in Winchester when the accident happened on April 3 last year.

He was travelling down Thomas Lewis Way in Southampton, when his petrol light came on.

Fearing he might not have enough to get him to work and back, he pulled into a petrol station only to see it was shut.

It was as he left the station that his car and PC Rawson’s motorcycle collided.

During his evidence Mr Pliszczynski told the jury and senior coroner Grahame Short he had seen other drivers turn right out of the petrol station to join the southbound lane.

But he admitted the white diagonal lines and central reservation probably meant he shouldn’t have done it.

He said: ‘There were no signs telling me that I couldn’t turn right.

‘But I know the white diagonal lines mean you cannot drive along them. I had to go on top of them to complete the manoeuvre.’

The jury heard during his police statement taken days after the collision, Mr Pliszczynski was asked: ‘Do you know if turning right out the petrol station is a legal manoeuvre?’. He answered: ‘Not really but there weren’t any signs.’

Mr Pliszczynski said he looked over his right shoulder as he pulled out of the station but he couldn’t remember if he looked left at on-coming traffic.

He also couldn’t remember if he drove in one motion on to the carriageway or if he staggered out.

The inquest jury heard ‘no right turn’ signs have since been put up at the garage.

At the beginning of his evidence, Mr Pliszczynski, originally from Poland, said he suffered broken ribs and spent several days in hospital.

He added the accident had affected him so much that he hasn’t driven since.

Of the crash he added: ‘I remember pulling out, looking over my shoulder and that is it. The next thing I knew I woke up and the roof had been cut off my car.’

The inquest, at Southampton Civic Centre, heard a statement from another driver, Danielle Roberts.

She said: ‘I was driving along Thomas Lewis Way when a black motorbike came up behind me and made me jump.

‘It came screaming past me and was close to my car.

‘It was going stupidly quick. Probably around 80mph.’

The inquest previously heard how police officers attempted to resuscitate PC Rawson, who was on duty and undercover, but he was pronounced dead at Southampton General Hospital.

Pathologist Dr Adrian Bateman concluded that PC Rawson died from a combination of serious injuries.